All businesses start with a great idea and a passion for putting out your product, but not all businesses start out with a foolproof plan to minimize your overhead costs. In the early stages of your business it is especially important to get the most out of the limited money you have to invest in yourself. Most veteran business owners will tell you that controlling overhead is the most important way to ensure you maximize your profits and enable you to reinvest the savings into growing your business, instead of handing them to utility companies. With all of the great, high-tech solutions available through the internet, it’s your loss if you don’t take advantage of them right away.
Use energy efficient appliances, light bulbs, bathroom facilities like low flow toilets and motion sensor bathroom lights that only turn on when you need them. You can leverage this to your customers to attract more “green” shoppers AND save money on overhead. Everybody wins, except for the power company.
These often overlooked superstars consume almost 100% less power than desktop computers. In a post-smartphone environment, you know the importance of portable computing. Take laptops to clients for demonstrations, work while traveling, save office space. They are readily available at great prices and can pay for themselves many times over in the long run.
Open source software
Don’t inflate your overhead if you don’t have to! Try open-source software for your back end data management. Google has a plethora of powerful open source software suites that you can use right away. They will save you thousands on software client costs and they offer nearly all of the features you’re familiar with in other productivity software.
It is simple, free, and it works. Register your business with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and any other social networking sites that would be relevant to your business. It’s an easy place to send your customers or clients and interact with them. The trick to maximizing your ROI on social media is to keep up with it. Post updates often and keep it interesting, or else you will lose your hard earned audience.
Consider hiring family or friends
Yeah I know, you’ve likely heard every horror story there is to hear about involving family in a business venture. It’s hard enough being a leader of a small business, and while there are certainly pros and cons to consider, it ultimately depends on how you’re able to handle uncomfortable situations and separating work from family.
Don’t pay for the purchase and maintenance of your in-house servers. They can be unreliable and costly. The cloud business is booming and you can get great rates on cloud storage that will not only save you big on overhead, but will give you peace of mind in the long run.
Get smartphones and tablets
Smartphones and tablet PC’s are perfect for leveraging the needs of any small or growing business. There are hundreds of apps that will help you keep up to date on everything from monthly budgets and cash flow to inventory control. You can even deposit checks right from your phone, which saves you a trip to the bank. You can even turn your smart device into a POS device with a few simple add-ons. Oh yeah, and they make calls too.
Don’t pay for expensive landline phone services. Use things like Skype or other VOIP platforms for your voice communications. They are fantastically cheap and are available to use wherever you have an internet connection, so you can be reached anywhere, unlike a typical landline. Additionally, they still come with all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a professional phone service, such as hold music, conference calls, and extension numbers.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, outsource it
If your business has few employees at the moment, consider outsourcing your HR and payroll needs. You can save money on not having to pay for in-house services which saves you bundles on overhead. Anything that isn’t crucial to what you do everyday for your business you can outsource. Take some of the worry out of taking over HR and Payroll services yourself and leave it to the professionals!
Invest in your customers with great customer service. This should seem like a no-brainer, but your customer service is your mouthpiece to the world. If they have a problem, you take care of it, and if you don’t go the extra mile in taking care of your precious customers, then you can be assured that they will go the extra mile to tell everyone they know not to do business with you, which is especially impactful considering many people use services like Yelp to choose their next dining destination. Remember to foster open communication with your customers through social media, as it’s a highly effective tool for resolving customer issues.
Many of these tips you can implement today and at little or no cost to you. The only thing stopping you from making the most out of what you put into your business is YOU! Make sure that you empower yourself with the tools you will need to make any business you start a success.